eBulletin January 12 2018
EDO NSW EBULLETIN – 12 January 2018: Number 1038
|EDO news||Court & Compliance||Law Reform & Policy|
|Have Your Say||Community news||Support our work|
Welcome to eBulletin 2018
Welcome back to our environmental law eBulletin for 2018. We left you with David’s blog post of 2017 snapshots. This year promises to be immense for the EDO. Our case on behalf of the Wollar Progress Association challenging the approval of extension of the Wilpinjong open cut coal mine goes to hearing in early February. We will be in Court for the hearing of the Nature Conservation Council’s challenge to the making of the NSW land-clearing Code in April. Meanwhile, we await judgement in our client RAID Moorebank’s appeal to the Land and Environment Court for protection of a critically endangered plant species at Moorebank in western Sydney. We expect HSI’s challenge to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority’s approval of lethal shark programs to be heard in the second half of the year. Civil enforcement proceedings in relation to allegations of unlawful water pumping by a large-scale irrigator are also underway.
We’re busy on many other fronts as well, with policy and outreach work and our international program. The eBulletin will have it all throughout the year.
Sand quarry workshop at Lennox Head
Together with the community group No Sand Mine for Lennox, we will be holding a free information workshop in Lennox Head next Thursday 18 January 2018, looking at the proposed McGeary’s Sand Quarry and recreation precinct.
We’ll cover the DA process, steps that can be taken to protect the environment before and after developments are approved and how to influence decisions affecting the environment through law.
Two updated fact sheets
Our latest plain-English fact sheet describes the new regulatory framework governing the clearing of vegetation in rural areas of NSW and how this interacts with other environmental laws, including those protecting threatened species and native animals and plants. This fact sheet will be useful for landholders and anyone concerned about land clearing activity.
We have also updated our fact sheet on conservation on private land in NSW, following the change in the law in August 2017. It provides information on the three types of private land conservation agreements under the new laws. It also sets out the law that continues to apply to private conservation mechanisms that were in place before August.
Council fined for water pollution
The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fined Clarence Valley Council $15,000 for water pollution caused by clearing works on the banks of Christopher’s Creek in South Grafton.
After heavy rain in October 2017, the EPA inspected the site and found that soil had eroded from the cleared creek banks and polluted the creek. The EPA found that erosion and sediment controls at the site were inadequate and did not meet industry standards. Although the council acted promptly to improve the site’s erosion and sediment controls they remained inadequate for at least another week.
Recycling company fined for poor waste storage practices
PAR Recycling Services (PAR) has been fined by the EPA for poor waste storage practices at their Somersby recycling facility.
During two inspections in September 2017 EPA officers observed waste stockpiles located in outdoor areas of the facility in contravention of the site’s Environment Protection Licence. Gas cylinders, aluminium cans, plastic, cardboard and steel bales, and glass fragments were stockpiled outside. EPA officers also observed damaged lead acid batteries stored in an unbunded area and large amounts of sediment, glass and litter at risk of being flushed into storm water drains and street gutters.
The EPA fined PAR $15,000 for storing waste in outdoor areas and issued a warning for the incorrect storage of waste batteries.
Waste company fined for poor waste management practices
Solo Waste Pty Ltd has been fined $30,000 by the EPA for a number of poor waste management practices at their Gateshead facility.
During a routine inspection of the Oakdale Road site in November, EPA officers observed stockpiles of glass and plastic waste being stored uncovered in an outside yard, poor waste practices resulting in a risk of leachate flowing into stormwater drains, plastic and paper pulp at risk of being washed into a stormwater drain and damaged bunding around an oil collection drum that would fail to adequately contain liquid in the event of a spill.
The EPA directed the company to take immediate action to improve the management of waste on site and issued two fines of $15,000 each.
Boating company fined for water pollution
The EPA has fined HCM Marine $15,000 for water pollution near their marina in Port Macquarie.
Following a report to the EPA Environment Line, Port Macquarie Hastings Council officers visited the marina and found evidence of antifoul paint on the ramp of the slipway and in the waters of the marina.
Waste company fined for water pollution
The EPA has fined Biomass Solutions Pty Ltd $15,000 for water pollution.
An EPA investigation found that Biomass discharged leachate containing high levels of a range of pollutants including ammonia into the catchment of Boambee Creek. The leachate had the potential to cause environmental damage including harming aquatic life.
Primary Production and Rural Development SEPP
EDO NSW has made a submission on the Explanation of Intended Effect for the new State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) on Primary Production and Rural Development. Submissions are open until Monday 15 January.
The Department of Planning and Environment’s proposal would revise and consolidate five rural and agricultural SEPPs into one Primary Production and Rural Development SEPP.
EDO NSW sees the in-principle benefits in ensuring planning controls are up-to-date, accessible and effective. In doing so it is also important that environmental protections and community engagement are maintained and improved, consistent with the aims of planning and environmental legislation.
Our submission considers some important issues upfront that are not dealt with, or fully dealt with, in the Explanation of Intended Effect:
- two guiding principles – on maintaining environmental protections and community engagement, and transparency in SEPP reviews and outcomes;
- how the reforms will affect land use on Environmental zones, and
- the need for closer regulation and best practice guidance for intensive plant agriculture (such as berry farming).
Recent EDO submissions and reports
- Primary Production and Rural development proposed SEPP – EDO NSW submission
- Draft Biodiversity Conservation Investment Strategy – EDO NSW submission
- Marine diversity: Beyond national jurisdiction – HSI, EDO NSW, Australian Committee for IUCN
- Draft Greater Sydney Region Plan – EDO NSW submission to Greater Sydney Commission
- Community Engagement Strategy Crown Land Management Act 2016 – EDO NSW submission
- Review of Environmental and Planning Assessment Regulation 2000 (Issues paper) – EDO NSW submission
- Draft Marine Estate Management Strategy 2018-2028 – EDO NSW submission
- Proposed adjustment to Sustainable Diversion Limit (SDL) Adjustment Mechanism – EDO Australia submission
- Protected Plant Sustainable Management Plans 2018-22 – EDO NSW submission
Read all our law reform submissions and briefing papers on our website.
Local Environmental Plan tracking
- No new listings have been placed on exhibition since the last eBulletin.
To access the LEP tracking system, visit the Department of Planning and Environment website, go to Current Proposals and search for ‘On Exhibition’. Read more about LEPs in our Fact Sheets. Visit your local council’s website to see if there are any planning proposals or LEP changes open for public comment.
This eBulletin provides alerts for opportunities to comment on changes to law and policy, and activities that may impact the environment in your area. For a comprehensive list of current opportunities to have your say on a range of environment and planning matters, visit our Have Your Say site.
This online resource also helps the community to effectively engage with decision-makers and request a workshop for your community. We are always trying to improve our community resources and are currently seeking feedback on the effectiveness of Have Your Say. You can help us out by checking out the site and completing a short three-question survey.
- Voluntary Land Acquisition and Mitigation Policy and Mining SEPP
The EPA has revised its standards for noise and air quality impacts, triggering a review by the Department of Planning and Environment of the VLAMP. After this review it is now proposed to update the Mining SEPP.
The proposed amendments are on view until Friday 16 February 2018.
- Affordable Housing SEPP 70
SEPP 70 is a mechanism that allows councils to prepare an affordable housing contribution scheme for certain precincts, areas or developments associated with an upzoning. The Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) proposes the inclusion of five councils – Randwick City, Inner West, Northern Beaches, City of Ryde and City of Canada Bay.
The EIE is on exhibition until Wednesday 31 January 2018.
- Water sharing plan reviews
The Natural Resources Commission is reviewing the Water Sharing Plan for the Bellinger Area Unregulated and Alluvial Water Sources 2008 and the Water Sharing Plan for the NSW Great Artesian Basin Groundwater Sources 2008.
Submissions are invited until Friday 16 February 2018.
- Australia’s Biodiversity Conservation Strategy
The Department of the Environment and Energy is seeking feedback on this strategy and action inventory for 2018-30.
The draft revised strategy is open to public comment until Friday 16 March 2018.
- Clean Energy Finance Corporation
The Department of the Environment and Energy is overseeing a statutory review of the operation of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation Act 2012. The review will consider the effectiveness of the Clean Energy Finance Corporation in facilitating increased flows of finance into the clean energy sector.
The review invites public submissions by Friday 16 February 2018.
- Regulation Impact Statement for a national phase out of PFOS
The Department of the Environment and Energy has released a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) on options for a national phase out of perfluorooctane sulfonic acid (PFOS) and related chemicals.
The consultation period closes on Monday 26 February 2018.
- Food derived from insect-protected cotton line
Monsanto Australia Ltd has sought approval from Food Standards Australia New Zealand for food derived from a genetically modified cotton line.
The deadline for public comment is Wednesday 14 February 2018.
Threatened Species and Endangered Ecological Community Listing
- No new listings have been placed on exhibition since the last eBulletin.
- Nominations invited: Nominations are invited for species, ecological communities or key threatening processes to be considered for listing under national environment law during the assessment period starting 1 October 2018. Nominations close at 5pm on Friday 30 March 2018. For further information, contact the Species Information and Policy Section, by email email@example.com or telephone (02) 6274 2535.
For a full listing of threatened species and endangered ecological community listings currently open for public comment, visit the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website and the Australian Department of the Environment website.
EPBC Referrals: Invitation to comment
- Herron, WA: proposal to develop a rural residential subdivision on vegetated area of mostly sheoak-jarrah-marri woodland.
- Capel, WA: proposal for an urban residential development that covers Western Ringtail Possum habitat and Melaleuca woodland.
- North Perth Basin, WA: proposal to conduct an onshore 3D seismic survey to assist in the search for conventional gas reserves.
- Middlemount, Qld: proposal to extend the existing open cut coal pit and development of sediment dams, pipelines, haul roads, etc.
- Mortlake, Vic: proposal to develop a wind farm with associated infrastructure and power line grid connections.
- Bookham, NSW: proposal to create a wind farm of up to 76 turbines.
- Coomera, Qld: proposal for a residential development that covers known koala trees.
- Muchea, WA: proposal to develop 127ha for industrial land uses.
Referrals under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) can be viewed on the Australian Environment Department’s website. To learn more, read our Fact Sheet on the EPBC Act.
- No new assessments have been placed on exhibition since the last eBulletin.
For a full listing of fisheries assessments currently open for public comment, visit the NSW Department of Primary Industries website and the Australian Department of the Environment website.
Plans of Management: Invitation to comment
- No new plans have been placed on exhibition since the last eBulletin
The full listing of plans of management for protected areas can be viewed on the Office of Environment and Heritage website. To learn more about the Plans of Management, see our Fact Sheet on Protected Areas.
Major Project proposals: Invitation to comment
- No new major project proposals on exhibition since the last eBulletin.
For a full listing of major project proposals currently open for public comment, visit the Department of Planning and Environment’s website. To learn more about the planning process for major projects, read our Fact Sheet on State Significant Development and State Significant Infrastructure.
New Coal and Petroleum Exploration Licence Applications
- No new coal or petroleum exploration licence applications have been listed since the last eBulletin.
To view current coal and petroleum (including CSG) exploration licence applications and approvals, visit the Minerals and Petroleum website. Common Ground is the NSW Government’s online tool to help you find information about current exploration and mining activity in your area. The NSW Government Gazette also contains a list of all exploration and mining lease applications and determinations. Public comment can be made on coal and petroleum (including CSG) exploration licence applications on the Minerals and Petroleum website. To learn more, read the EDO NSW publication Mining Law in NSW: A guide for the community.
Imagining a Different Future – Overcoming Barriers to Climate Justice
This multidisciplinary conference will examine the barriers to responding to climate change and implementing climate justice and propose ways forward.
When: Thursday 8-Saturday 10 February 2018
Where: University of Tasmania, Hobart
2018 Environmental Law Symposium
The Legal Practice Section of the Law Council of Australia will be hosting the 2018 Environmental Law Symposium at the NSW Law Society. The event will include a special presentation honouring the contribution of Justice Murray Wilcox AO QC to environmental jurisprudence in Australia.
When: Thursday 19 April 2018 11:45am – late (dinner)
Where: NSW Law Society 170 Phillip St Sydney
2018 Mahla Pearlman Oration
The Legal Practice Section and the Environment and Planning Law Association of NSW will be co-hosting this event. The oration will be delivered by former Chief Justice of the High Court, the Honourable Robert French AC, who will be introduced by Justice Pepper.
The oration will also include the presentation of the Mahla Pearlman Australian Young Environmental Lawyer of the Year Award.
When: Thursday 19 April 2018 5:00pm – 7:00pm
Where: Federal Court of Australia, Sydney
We need your help to keep fighting
EDO NSW has been providing critical legal support to communities for 30 years. We are the only legal centre in NSW specialising in public interest environmental issues. As a not-for-profit, non-government organisation, we rely on our donors to help fund our programs and services.
Your support is vital to ensuring that community groups and individuals across Australia and the South Pacific have access to environmental justice.